Driving a commercial truck, especially the large, over-the-road type, can be demanding. Several factors inherent to the work take a physical toll on truck drivers. Unfortunately, they alone do not pay a high price for their unhealthy lifestyle. Unfit big-rig drivers are responsible for a great deal of fatal trucking accidents involving many other drivers.
In 2012, researchers at the University of North Carolina Greensboro examined cause-and-effect relationships between commercial truck drivers’ work conditions and their physical well-being. A total of 316 truck drivers participated in the study titled “Health Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Drivers: Work Environment, Physical Health, and Healthcare Access.”
Truck Drivers’ Unfit Lifestyles Pose Risks to Other Drivers
The majority of the participants were long-haul drivers, spending an average of 17-plus days on the road each month. The researchers reported that:
- 83 percent of the truck drivers were obese
- 60 percent of the truck drivers had sleeping disturbances
- 56 percent of the truck drivers suffered from fatigue
Many commercial truck drivers are paid based on miles driven, which, the study notes, contributes to truckers speeding and driving while overly tired, which leads to unsafe roads. In the study, the authors write that “…there is ample evidence to suggest that truckers’ health problems (e.g. sleep disorders) and modifiable risk factors (e.g. insufficient physical activity) could significantly influence road-traffic accident rates.”
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2007 “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” reported that in 2006 alone, accidents involving trucks killed 5,300 people, and truck drivers were responsible for 80 percent of the accidents.
While truck driving can be a tough job, that shouldn’t provide truckers and trucking companies any shield from responsibility when they cause catastrophic accidents. If you or a family member has been a victim of a trucking accident, an experienced truck accident attorney can help obtain compensation for your damages or tragic losses.